This past weekend was the 4th edition of the Vancouver Photo Marathon. I helped organize the first two editions, was a judge one year and was supposed to be a participant last year but had to drop out at the last minute. This year though, I was able to be a participant…finally!
First a bit of background. The photo marathon is basically a 12 hour themed photo walk where every hour you are given a new theme and you have to figure out how to shoot it in the allotted time. To further make things interesting, you’re shooting on film. You’re also only given enough film to capture the 12 themes…one frame (shot) per theme. That’s right, you only get one shot to get your shot as you have to shoot the themes in the order they are given out!
This year, things got even more interesting as it was the ‘Black and White’ edition – we shot with B&W film. While a little more forgiving than color film, it’s still requires you to think a little differently about how you’re going to shoot it.
I opted to use my Nikon N2000 (aka F301) SLR body (with manual focus). This let me use a few of my DSLR lenses and be a little more sure of the end result rather than one of the rangefinder Holga’s or Lomo cameras I was thinking of using.
At first, it took me a long time to get my legs and get the creative juices flowing. After walking around the neighbourhood for over an hour, I finally found my first shot then headed back to the CoffeeBar (our home base for the day) to get the next theme. One thing I didn’t expect was how difficult this marathon is! You’d think I’d get it after helping to run the first two but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the mental gymnastics that doing this event requires.
I managed to get through all the themes well within the allotted time, much to my surprise. I ended up using something in my camera bag as an unintentional character in many of my shots…which at first I thought was impossible but the more time I spent thinking about it, the easier it got to be…some shots I’m proud of, others not so much. I didn’t really have time to ponder each shot as long as I would have liked if I wanted to finish in time.
Unfortunately, at the end of the night, while (attempting) to rewind my film to hand in, I accidentally opened the back of the camera (only just). This is what I get for using the camera I’ve used the least amount of times out of the 10+ ones I own. My fingers are crossed that because the N2000 autowinds the film after each shot, I may just have a small light leak on my last shot. It’s also very possible that I ruined the entire roll. I won’t know for sure until the film is developed…if it’s completely ruined, I’ll be told, otherwise, I have to wait for the exhibition on September 22nd to see how much of my roll turned out.
On that note, if you’d like to come and see how things turned out, as well as see some other amazing photographers efforts, consider coming out to the Salt Building in Vancouver’s Olympic Village on the night of September 22nd for the Raw Talent Exhibition where all the participants will get to see the fruits of their 12 hours of labour. You may also want to consider contributing or sponsoring the crowdfunding effort to make the exhibition even better! The Exhibition is always a great night out with lots to see and people to meet.
Let’s hope I’ve got some prints to show that night!